M E D I T A T I O N
THE REAL PROBLEM
If we really consider ourselves faithful disciples, we would get pretty annoyed if someone were to accuse us of not being prayerful. At the same time, maybe in the depths of our soul, we'd know that there's some truth there. However, we'd feel pushed to keep up a good religious image.
But instead of trying to maintain our image, it might be better to pause and ask ourselves why it really is that we don't pray. Experience tells us that perhaps the most common excuse is that we don't have time. Whether it's family prayer or personal prayer that we're referring to, the answer is generally the same. We'll mention a thousand things which will "prove" that we don't have time. The reasons will all be substantial, weighty and conclusive enough to make our plea seem justified.
This failing or mistake, therefore, must be the Gospa's. She's the one who's always calling us to individual or community prayer. If she had to go to the office, take care of the children, watch the TV, listen to the news, work on the computer, and worry about the bills.......Maybe then, she'd speak differently.
Is it a failing of the Gospa's? All told, it is if prayer is something which is just like all the other things that we have to finish during the day. If, however, we understand prayer to be the hinge upon which all the other things are hanging, then we'd have to say that the Gospa is right. In that case the first thing we'd do in the morning wouldn't be to throw back a cup of coffee while dashing off somewhere etc. Rather we would pause and collect ourselves in prayer, either alone or with others. We would have time wholly for it, and, as for the other things, they would be decided only after having prayed.
Until prayer takes the first place, it will always be in a predicament, and we along with it. We will always put it off for something "more important", and precisely because of that it will constantly be a source of unrest and agitation to us. So isn't it us rather than prayer which is the problem?
Fr. Miljenko Stojic
N E W S
THE UGANDAN BISHOPS IN MEDJUGORJE
Just as we mentioned in the last issue of the Press Bulletin, three Ugandan bishops paid a visit to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, from the 8th to the 15th of May: Bishop Frederick Dranuba, Bishop Deogratias Byabazaire and Bishop Joseph Oyanga. In issue no. 65 we published msgr. Drandua's interesting sermon in it's entirety, and in this issue we'd like to communicate testimonies of the impressions they had on their visit here:
MONS DEOGRATIAS BYABAZAIRE, the bishop from Hoime. He was ordained a priest in 1969 and to his Episcopal office in 1990. This is what he had to say about his impressions of Medjugorje:" I've spent a week in Medjugorje and I felt that it emanates much prayer, peace and friendliness. I met so many people who really pray and who seek prayer. I visited Krizevac and Podbrdo. I saw many many people praying. I was apprehensive about going up. But when I reached the top, I felt so happy. Both hills were a beautiful experience for me. I prayed very much and I saw many praying barefoot.
The evening mass made a deep impression on me. The church was full every evening, and there were even more people hearing the mass from outside. And even though they didn't understand the language they were deeply united in devotion and prayer. But even so, the most beautiful part of the prayer program was the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I saw a great number of priests confessing and a multitude of pilgrims and local people confessing.
I was present at an apparition. My impression is that we are dealing with something profoundly real here. Speaking with the visionaries, I understood that thy are sincere and mature people.
On my return home I will emphasize the simplicity of the Gospa's messages, and how it is this simplicity which breaks through to the hearts of her children."
MONS. FREDERICK DRANUBA, is the Bishop of Aru. He was ordained a priest in 1970 and a bishop in 1986. About his experience of Medjugorje, he had this to say:" This is really an important experience for me, especially at the level of prayer. I cannot say that Our Lady is not appearing. 15 years have gone by and the visionaries continue to say it. They are always repeating the same message. They don't change at all. The message is simple: to pray, to fast, to believe, to confess and to adore. That's precisely why we must be dealing with a supernatural event, because they are steadfast in their one message. People come and change their lives. Many confess. In these last ten years as a bishop I hardly ever heard confessions. Here people were constantly asking me to hear their confessions, and I did. In these days I must have heard over 100 confessions. I'm certain that the Lord is using this place for the conversion of nations. On my return home I intend to preach about the rosary, and I will recommend to priests that they dedicate one day in the week to Adoration.
On the occasion of their visit, all three bishops had a meeting with Mons. Ratko Peric the local Bishop. This is what Mons. Dranuba told us about his meeting: " Bishop Peric told me that Medjugorje is not a problem for him provided that people pray there. The problem is the Franciscans who, according to him want to be independent. I told him that Medjugorje is constantly speaking about peace. Our Lady invites us to a change of heart and to peace in our hearts. You cannot say that the Franciscans are bad. You must accept the fact that you must change too. Then, the Franciscans will change, and then peace will be possible. The message of peace is coming from your diocese. It is intended for you and the Franciscans. Have the strength to humble yourself in front of the Gospa and begin to pray for peace. I beg you dear brother, work for peace. Call the Franciscans! Maybe at first only a few will come. It won't all be resolved in one day. But you must go to them because you are the "Shepherd". Say to them, my dear sons, come, please come. If you do this I'm sure that you will succeed . "I'll try" was his reply. He told me that the Franciscans will listen to neither the general nor Rome. I said to him" No. Rome wants peace and you must work concretely for that objective here"."
MONS. JOSEPH OXYANGA, is the Bishop of Lir. He is already 33 years a priest and 8 years a Bishop. About his experiences in the shrine of the Queen of Peace, he had this to say:" This is a place of contemplation and prayer . Everyone who comes here takes part in an interpersonal togetherness. I saw people from Europe, America, Japan, Australia. They all feel as one. This made a strong impression on me. Here one really prays. I couldn't go up the hill but it really touched me when a pilgrim brought be back a stone from the Apparition site. Adoration is a special experience. It is something unique. I saw people fasting. In the house where I was staying the pilgrims ate nothing for dinner other than bread and a little salad. This spirit of penance, sacrifice and mortification is something which I haven't seen in such a long time. This experience will give me the strength to preach about the "Gospa". I feel now that I haven't given her enough attention. She is very close to us. That is the main message of this place."
THE PHOTOGRAPH EXHIBITION AT MEDJUGORJE
On the 11th of May 1997, there was an exhibition on the Parish premises of a new book of photographs of Medjugorje issued by the Information Center "MIR". The Photographers of this exceptional work are all experts of contemporary photography in Croatia. Apart from the many texts, the beauty of this book is it's valuable collection of pictures. Whether they portray individuals, groups or the whole congregation, all the photographs show a point in time lived here at the shrine of the Queen of Peace. That's why the exhibition was a true recollection of pilgrimage in Medjugorje, bringing memories of the church and the hills to life. The book is printed in four languages: Croatian, English, German and Italian and can be bought in the Parish book-store.
NOT FORGETTING - IN MEMORIAM
Four years ago on the 29th of May 1993, Fabio Moreni, Sergio Lana, and Guido Puletti were killed at Gornja Vakufa. They were bringing food to hungry families in Novo Travnik and Zavidovic. On their way back they had intended to aid some Muslim families by bringing them to stay for a while with Catholic families in Brescia, Italy. So as not to ignore the importance of these martyrs of Christian love, we wish to remember them with thanksgiving and to publish two worthy testimonies.
At a prayer group in Cremoni, a few days before his death, Fabio witnessed: "When we're travelling, it's a great comfort to us that the radio which we fixed into the car, picks up the rosary and we can pray it together. We usually manage to get back, at least for a brief visit to Medjugorje, where I can testify that my soul is filled and comforted with peace and joy which, without doubt, is the gift of our Heavenly Mother, who manifests herself there as the Queen of Peace."
Sergio's mother wrote a deeply impressive letter in June 1993: " I am turning to whoever killed my son. He was my only son, and you can imagine how much I loved him.... I'm writing to you because I want you to know that I bear no hatred towards whoever did this. I forgive them. I have heard that there was some woman in the group. I don't know, perhaps she too is a mother. I would like the Lord to touch her heart and the hearts of those who were with her, so that they can understand that the life of every human being is sacred. That's why we must respect every life. Only if we wish well to others, and if we love everyone, can we offer peace to this world and have it within our hearts.
Published by : INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira
(Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace),
88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: 00387 88 651 444.
Director: fra Miljenko Stojic.
You can receive the latest issue of the Press Bulletin at any time on your own fax machine in the tone
mode by dialing the Robofax in our Information Center at +387-88-65-15-55.
Published every other Wednesday.
Last Modified 05/21/97